WASHINGTON – February 12, 2014 – The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement in response to the blog post “Channel Sharing: A New Opportunity for Broadcasters” by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler:
“We appreciate Chairman Wheeler’s enthusiasm about the channel sharing pilot in Los Angeles, and we were honored to have him visit public television station KLCS, where the pilot is being conducted.
“But we should be clear that this pilot is not intended to prove that all broadcasters can get by with half the spectrum they’re currently using. Instead, it’s designed to show that all kinds of good things can happen – for broadcasters and for the public – with advances in compression technology and innovative business arrangements that permit the sharing of significant costs between stations.
“Some broadcasters may choose to channel-share and use revenue from cost savings and the incentive auction to enhance their programming. Other broadcasters may choose to keep all their spectrum and use compression technology to provide an unprecedented diversity of programming services. Whatever such advances may be demonstrated in this pilot, they will depend on brand new cutting-edge technology whose widespread adoption will require a substantial new capital investment in the public television system.
“We are certain that the overwhelming majority of public television stations will not be participating in the incentive auctions, and will instead hope to employ the technological advances at hand to improve and expand their essential public service missions in America's communities.
“For those relatively few stations whose economic circumstances warrant an exploration of the channel sharing option to ensure that they can invest more in programming and community service and less in equipment and infrastructure – including stations that bring an important diversity of voices and viewpoints to the public – this pilot will demonstrate the possibilities and limitations of such a strategy.
“We are grateful for the FCC’s prompt approval of the pilot, and we look forward to reviewing and learning from its results, as we have done with such experiments over several decades, to show how broadcasters can be better broadcasters and more versatile public servants.”
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research, communications and other activities that foster a strong and financially sound public television system providing essential public services to all Americans. Its affiliate APTS Action, Inc. promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy and through grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner bipartisan congressional support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.